WHY VOLUNTEER? (10 fantastic reasons):
- Volunteering brings fulfillment. (It can help you make new friends and build networks).
- Volunteering is a selfless act that improves communities needing critical services.
- Research has found that volunteering significantly improves your mental and physical health.
- Volunteering provides a sense of achievement and purpose.
- Volunteers can display skills and talents and learn new valuable ones.
- Volunteering can reduce stress and increase positive, relaxed feelings.
- Volunteers strengthen communities.
- Volunteers feel a sense of connection to the communities they serve.
- Volunteering is FUN and gets you out of your comfort zone.
- Volunteering is a pretty nice boost to one's confidence.
- And the BONUS: those who benefit from your volunteer efforts will appreciate you!
We appreciate your interest in becoming a volunteer with California CareForce (CCF). There are both professional and non-professional roles as a volunteer.
Please note that signing up to volunteer for the first time is a two-step process. First, you must create a volunteer profile. Then, you must sign up for the specific clinic where you wish to volunteer. You can sign up via the Volunteer drop-down menu above or click HERE. Registration opens about 12 weeks before the scheduled clinic. If you have trouble creating a profile or signing up for a clinic, please email our Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Roleeda Statham, here.
Volunteering as a Dental Professional
The Dental Section is staffed with over 100 volunteer dental professionals and utilizes oral surgeons, general dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and other dental professionals to serve hundreds of patients in need each clinic day. This section includes up to 68 dental chairs divided into three main sections: Hygiene, Restorative, and Surgery.
All patients are initially screened in Medical Triage, where a medical history, vital signs, blood glucose, current medications, and allergies are documented on their dental form. From Medical Triage, most patients are escorted (by a general volunteer) to a Dental X-ray, receiving a panorex, bilateral bitewings, and anterior periapical films. A few patients may request hygiene only and skip radiographs. Patients are then escorted to Dental Triage, where a preliminary treatment plan is documented on their dental form. From Dental Triage, the patient is escorted to Oral Surgery, Restorative, or Hygiene, where each practitioner determines a final treatment plan.
The Dental Section is equipped with all the appropriate PPE and armamentarium you would typically have in private practice. CareForce supplies disposable gloves, masks, face shields and gowns. Please feel free to bring your disposable items if you require anything specific.
An ACLS paramedic team and van are stationed adjacent to the dental section during all hours of operation. There is also a medical emergency equipment station within the confines of the clinic, which contains an eye wash station, an oxygen tank with masks and an Ambu bag, an AED, B.P. cuffs, stethoscopes, a first aid kit, and both children and adult Epi-pens.
X-ray information: X-ray techs will find easy-to-use, updated digital panoramic machines. All bitewing and periapical films are taken with digital sensors and Nomad handheld units. Snap-a-Ray and Uni-Grip holders are supplied. The techs print and upload all films to CareForce computers as the permanent record.
Hygiene information: As a dental hygiene volunteer at CCF, you will see a wide variety of patients with different periodontal needs. As a dental hygiene professional, you can determine what treatments your patients will need that day. We recommend limiting treatment times to under 40 minutes per patient due to the high volume of patients needing treatment at these clinics. For patients requiring more extensive scaling and root planning procedures, we recommend doing what you can with the given time and referring those patients to local clinics or dental hygiene schools for further treatment.
CCF provides all of its dental hygiene volunteers with access to top-of-the-line equipment to provide the best care possible to our patients. Each hygienist has their section to work from, which you can customize and set up however you would like to make things comfortable for you. The provider chairs at the clinic are plastic folding chairs and, therefore, cannot be lowered or raised, so some hygienists prefer to bring their chairs to use from their private practice, or they prefer to stand. However, the patient chair CAN be raised or lowered for your comfort.
Hygienists will find an outstanding and comprehensive assortment of high-quality instruments and supplies at a well-organized, labeled buffet table. This includes Hu-Friedy Swerve Ultrasonic units and tips, Hu-Friedy hand instruments, and additional curettes and graceys if needed—a variety of local anesthetic and cetacaine liquid syringes. A well-organized “buffet” table is stocked with fluoride varnish, GreenLeaf and other suction devices, gauze, cotton rolls, polishing paste, prophy cups, etc. We ensure our instruments are in good condition and that we have an appropriate quantity, so you will never have to go without an instrument you may need. In addition, you will have access to local/topical anesthetics to use as needed.
Restorative information: Dental Assistants (RDAEF, RDA, and DA) will work collaboratively with a dentist to perform therapeutic procedures, including composite and amalgam fillings. Assistants will be responsible for setting up and breaking down the treatment room, setting up the procedural tray and associated equipment, e.g., light cure, and providing patient education.
Please note that provider chairs at the clinic are plastic folding chairs and, therefore, cannot be lowered or raised. Some providers prefer to bring their chairs from their private practice or stand to use. However, the patient chair CAN be raised or lowered for your comfort.
Oral Surgery information: The Oral Surgeon will find an outstanding and comprehensive assortment of high-quality and diverse surgical instruments and supplies at a well-organized, labeled buffet table. An extensive array of maxillary and mandibular forceps, elevators, local anesthetics, suture materials, as well as hemostatic agents, Oral Pathology biopsy kits, electric surgical units, handpieces, and burrs are all available for use.*
Medications are available to be prescribed and given to the patients upon discharge. These medications include amoxicillin, clindamycin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Narcotics are not available.
An Oral Surgeon in the immediate locale of the clinic is available and on call for questions, complications, and post-op care for those patients treated at our clinic.
*We currently have six electric surgical units, which may not be adequate for all surgeons in attendance. We therefore recommend that surgeons bring their units if possible.
Please note that provider chairs at the clinic are plastic folding chairs and, therefore, cannot be lowered or raised. Some providers prefer to bring their chairs from their private practice or stand. However, the patient chair CAN be raised or lowered for your comfort.
CE credit information: We proudly offer our volunteer dental professionals three CE credits in Emergency Preparedness, free of charge. These credits are provided through the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (CALAOMS).
To receive the CE credits, you must volunteer at least one full day (8+ hours) at a California CareForce clinic and complete and submit the required form within 30 days of volunteering. You will receive a certificate verifying your CE credits one of two ways: 1) in person at the clinic or 2) post-clinic via mail. A record of your CE credits will also be kept at the CALAOMS office in case they need to be verified directly.
Please email Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Roleeda Statham here to inquire about volunteer opportunities in the dental section or with questions or concerns regarding CE credits.
Volunteering as a Vision Professional
The Vision Section is staffed by volunteer licensed optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, vision lab technicians, and other optical professionals. This section provides comprehensive eye exams and prescription eyeglasses made on-site, enabling patients to choose their frames and walk away with new glasses.
Equipped with state-of-the-art autorefractors, auto lensometers, slit lamps, an Optos retinal scanner, and ten exam lanes, each with a phoropter, the Vision Floor provides complete, comprehensive eye examinations including visual acuity, power of existing eyeglasses recorded, auto refraction, subjective refraction, intraocular pressure, slit lamp exam for ocular health assessment and pathology.
After receiving their exam, patients head to the Dispensing area to select their frames. Stocked with hundreds of frames from some of the best companies in the country, Bevel, SALT., Barton Perreira, OGI, LaFont, etc., we have quite the selection!
The on-site Vision Finishing Lab is equipped with three auto lensometers, four edgers (three Santinelli SE-9090 and a LE-1000), two ICE Mini+ blockers with tracers, plastic and polycarbonate single vision and bifocal lens stock, a hand edger, frame warmers, and all the tools necessary for frame adjustment and assembly.
If you are an optometry student, please email Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Roleeda Statham here to inquire about hands-on volunteer opportunities in the Vision Section!
Volunteering as a Medical Professional
Patient Triage Information: Patient Triage is the first station after patients get registered to receive services and where the medical screening begins to support the Medical, Dental, and Vision teams. Patient Triage volunteers are a team of (actively licensed in California) RNs, LVNs/LPNs, EMTs, and often, a limited number of nursing students (under an instructor’s supervision, who only do vitals). Patient Triage typically consists of 10-12 tables, with two volunteers at each table. Please note that new protocols have been written to protect our volunteers and patients and reduce the chance of acquiring any infection.
Patient Triage volunteer information:
- Besides being welcoming, friendly, warm, smiling, and engaging, we take a basic medical and medicine/allergy history, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels (finger sticks).
- We see anybody who shows up without exception.
- We ask that you bring your stethoscope and, if willing, your BP cuff. We do have Adult, Large Adult, and Pedi cuffs available. We also supply glucometers and all the items needed for testing.
- Masks, gloves, and hand hygiene gel are provided at every table.
- Translators are available for those who don’t speak English.
We want each volunteer to commit to a full day (8 hours) or a half day (4-1/2 hours). A variation of both may occur if volunteering for multiple days. Special schedule arrangements can also be made with the Volunteer Coordinator and section Team Lead before the clinic schedule. Patient triage typically winds down between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Coffee, snacks, lunch, and bottled water are provided. Please also note that patients enter the clinic in waves. It is expected to be very busy to get through 50-75 patients and then wait for the next group to complete the registration process and be ushered into the Patient Triage waiting area.
The work we do is fun and highly rewarding. The people you’ll meet can range from severe and light-hearted to many characters. Your presence is welcomed to help support our patients who frequently haven’t seen a provider in years, sometimes decades. The thanks and gratitude we receive provide the energy to propel us through the day!
If you are a nursing student, please email Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Roleeda Statham here with questions about volunteer opportunities in the Patient Triage.
Medical Section Information: The Medical Section, staffed by licensed physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses, provides routine primary care services and preventive health screenings for participants at CareForce events.
The Medical Section functions as follows:
- The Medical Section supports patients with blood pressure and blood sugars that are out of range. The patients with elevated BP or blood sugars are escorted from the Patient Triage area to the Medical Section. These patients would then see one of the practitioners, and a treatment plan would be established. We give medications to get patients within the parameters required for treatment. Blood pressure and blood sugar rechecks are part of our care.
- The Medical Section focuses on supporting dental and optical operations and optimizing treatment for participants receiving dental and optical care who have complicated medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
- The Medical Section provides minor care services, health screenings, limited immunizations, and health education about common medical problems. It assists patients with enrollment in Medi-Cal and connection with local community resources for ongoing care.
- Additionally, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and mental health professionals who volunteer at CareForce events provide their services as part of the Medical Section.
- At some clinics, pap smear and mammography are service options depending on volunteer provider availability.
- In an emergency, personnel from the medical section assist with stabilizing the patient and transitioning care to emergency medical technicians.
If you are a medical student, please email Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Roleeda Statham here with questions about volunteer opportunities in the Medical Section.
Volunteering as a General Volunteer
Fifty non-disabled general volunteers are needed to help set up two days before the clinic (typically a Wednesday and Thursday). One hundred seventy-five general volunteers are utilized each clinic day. Seventy-five general volunteers are needed the day after the clinic to assist with take-down. A healthcare background is not required. We ask that available volunteers be friendly, patient, and helpful. Available volunteers are used in a variety of clinic roles, including:
- Volunteer Check-in & out*
- Patient line management
- Escorting patients to and from clinic sections
- Patient Registration
- Assisting in Patient Triage
- Assisting in various areas of the dental section - X-ray, Sterilization (must be blood-borne pathogen trained/certified), Dental Supply Buffet, "Bucket Brigade," Dental Check-out
- Assisting in the Vision Section - helping patients select frames for their glasses, making glasses in the Vision Lab, checking patients out
- Translators (also needed on the afternoon of the day before the clinic)
- Assisting with lunch*
- Various other jobs
The minimum age requirement for most General Volunteer roles is 18. An asterisk (*) next to the role means the volunteer may be age 15 or older with a parent or guardian on-site during volunteer service.
For general volunteer questions or registration assistance, please email Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Roleeda Statham, HERE.